COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is seeking feedback on draft changes to the state’s current dial framework, a tool that allows Colorado to balance the ongoing need to contain the COVID-19 virus with the need for localized guidance during the pandemic.
The state has met with several groups including local public health agencies, county commissioners, mayors, and city managers to discuss potential changes to the dial, focused on making the Dial framework more responsive to local conditions, accounting for the benefits to hospital capacity from the vaccination of people over age 70 and frontline healthcare workers, and providing the ability to better balance disease suppression with economic hardship due to increasing vaccinations and decreasing disease rates.
“Coloradans have made significant sacrifices to reduce disease transmission, so it is time to update the dial to reflect this reality, plus the increasing number of people who are immunized,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE Executive Director. “This updated proposal is based on Colorado's disease and vaccination rates, plus input from local public health agencies and local governments, and we are seeking the public's help to refine it further.”
"The Dial has been a useful tool in helping us to manage our response to the pandemic, but it needs to be updated based on lessons learned over the past five months,” said Dr. John Douglas, Executive Director of Tri County Health Department. “We appreciate the collaboration between CDPHE and local public health agencies in considering these updates together.”
Draft changes include:
- An increase in the range of incidence metrics for all colors to better balance disease suppression with economic hardship, while preventing a breach in hospital capacity.
- Moving to a 7-day metric of incidence rate, percent positivity of testing, and hospitalizations instead of a 14 day metric to more quickly respond to local conditions
- Decreasing the metric requirement for testing positivity rates in the yellow and orange levels to continue to promote testing as an important disease containment strategy.
- Special consideration from CDPHE for counties under 20,000 population to determine the level on the dial, accounting for weekly variability in the percent positivity of tests and disease incidence rates.
Increased vaccine distribution and decreasing disease prevalence are allowing Colorado to continue opening more of the economy while saving lives with an updated “Dial 2.0” to reflect the current state of the pandemic.